A commenter raised the issue, citing the former congresswoman’s support for abortion rights, and declared: “Geraldine Ferraro should be denied a Catholic Mass with Catholic sacraments and yes, may God have mercy upon her soul.”
Details about Ferraro’s funeral haven’t yet been released. I presume it will be Catholic. (To those who have asked: no, I don’t think it will be held at my parish. As of Sunday afternoon, no one had contacted the rectory about it.)
But this sort of controversy is not without precedent. Two years ago, when Ted Kennedy’s Catholic funeral (shown above, featuring the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston) caused such an uproar, I posted a link to an article from Zenit on who may or may not have a Catholic funeral:
A funeral Mass can be celebrated for most Catholics, but there are some specific cases in which canon law requires the denial of a funeral Mass.
Canons 1184-1185 say:
“Canon 1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:
1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;
2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;
3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.“§2. If any doubt occurs, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment must be followed.
“Canon 1185. Any funeral Mass must also be denied a person who is excluded from ecclesiastical funerals.”
In fact, these strictures are rarely applied. In part, this is because many sinners do show signs of repentance before death.
The consensus at the time was that it was appropriate for Ted Kennedy to have a Catholic funeral. Canon lawyer Ed Peters weighed in on the topic, too — and agreed that the Kennedy funeral was canonically acceptable.
UPDATE: A local TV station stopped by our parish Sunday. Watch the report here. Also, the details of her funeral have been released: it will be celebrated privately on Thursday at St. Vincent Ferrer Church in Manhattan.
Also: people are exhausting themselves finding new ways to say she’s almost certainly going to hell. Comments are hereby closed. Let us pray for Geraldine Ferraro, her family and those who loved her. “Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you…”